The single most important factor influencing your lawn health and appearance is the way it is mowed. The key to mowing is to
- Mow it when it is tall
- Mow it regularly
- Change mowing directions
- Keep your blade sharp
Your mower blade should be set at a minimum cutting height of three inches. Taller is even better. Anything less and you are cutting off too much of the grass’s light-gathering blade, which helps it produce food for itself, much like a tree does. Mowing properly will promote thickening and better lawn color even during dry periods. A thick, tall mowed lawn will discourage weeds and crabgrass from germination by blocking the sunlight where weed seeds lie. Your pre-emergent crabgrass control will also be better protected from sunlight, which breaks it down more quickly. Scalping your lawn even once greatly increases the chances of these weeds germinating. Also, excess clippings should be raked so they don’t block the sunlight. When fall arrives, you should then gradually lower your mower blade to one and a half inches. The purpose for this is that you don’t want to have long turf when the snow begins to pile up as it increases the likelihood of snow mold fungus.
Watering Your Lawn
If a lawn does not get water from rainfall or irrigation, it will lose both color and hardiness. As a general rule, turf grass should receive at least 1 inch of water per week to stay healthy. A single deep weekly soaking is recommended as opposed to frequent, shallow watering, which encourages shallow rooting and promotes weak turf which is susceptible to disease and insect attack as well as damage to high-traffic areas. Early morning is the best time to water your lawn. With cooler temperatures, the water is utilized more effectively by the plant. Any water that is not used will evaporate. Watering in the evening or after sundown will promote lawn diseases that become much more active in a moist, dark environment.